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Argon neuroprotection.

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Certain noble gases, though inert, exhibit remarkable biological properties. Notably, xenon and argon provide neuroprotection in animal models of central nervous system injury. In the previous issue of Critical Care, Loetscher and colleagues provided further evidence that argon may have therapeutic properties for neuronal toxicity by demonstrating protection against both traumatic and oxygen-glucose deprivation injury of organotypic hippocampal cultures in vitro. Their data are of interest as argon is more abundant, and therefore cheaper, than xenon (the latter of which is currently in clinical trials for perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury; TOBYXe; NCT00934700). We eagerly await in vivo data to complement the promising in vitro data hailing argon neuroprotection.

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